3D printing shop opens in Evanston

Edward Cox/The Daily Northwestern

Edward Cox, Assistant City Editor

Children and adults gathered around the Cube, watching the 3D printer ooze plastic into the shape of a ring.

The demonstration was part of a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday night at GetPrinting3D, 820 Davis St. The 3D printing shop, located in Evanston’s Technology Innovation Center, is one of the first of its kind in Illinois.

As his sister rattled off questions about the technology, student Nathan Jacobson remained unfazed but excited.

“It’s really quite simple if you think about it,” he told his sister. “It it just printing in multiple layers.”

3D printers marketed for both industrial and hobby use line the Ohio-based company’s showroom in Evanston, which featured rocket ships, city landscapes and Northwestern memorabilia. The printers whirred as Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl cut the ribbon with her grandson.

“What’s exciting is if we can get kids from grade school and begin to interest them with technology,” GetPrinting3D marketing director Brent Cox said. “At that age, they soak up information, and it’s exciting know what they will be doing in high school.”

With 3D technology becoming more affordable, GetPrinting3D can serve both individuals and businesses, founder Ben Staub said.

The second generation of the Cube, which costs $1,249, allows residents to customize plastic models through free online programs. More expensive printers offer higher precision and color printing abilities.

GetPrinting3D has worked with companies such as GE Aviation, which has found making small amounts of parts more convenient than manufacturing them in bulk, Staub said.

The company will hire one full-time employee, two part-time employees and engineers as it expands.

A little more than an hour into the opening celebration Wednesday night, the showroom emptied as Jacobson continued to design a 3D model on a computer.

“I’ve just been really excited about 3D printing for a while because there’s really nothing like it, it’s like a cross between a glue gun and a printer,” Jacobson said. “They’re just as awesome as I thought.”

— Edward Cox